Attitudes to Grammar in the Internet Age

Conference: The Barcelona Conference on Education (BCE2022)
Title: Attitudes to Grammar in the Internet Age
Stream: Teaching Experiences, Pedagogy, Practice & Praxis
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
Jonathan White, Dalarna University, Sweden


This presentation concerns two surveys carried out among students in Sweden concerning their attitudes to English grammar. In research, the norms that are appropriate for learners of English have been greatly debated. Native speaker norms are still often seen as the most authentic type of language for learners to aim for, but the appropriateness of non-native norms in particular contexts has been discussed especially in the World Englishes and English as a Lingua Franca fields (cf. Pinner, 2014, 2016). The first survey was answered by 100 participants, and demonstrated a nuanced attitude to norms, with both standard and non-standard norms seen as necessary complements to one another. Formal language use required a more standard grammar usage, while non-standard features like a lack of verb agreement were seem as acceptable in informal usage. The second survey went into more detail into Internet language use. Classic spoken language norms like elliptical subjects were perfectly acceptable, while abbreviated language such as acronyms and homophonic spelling were appropriate in informal contexts only. An important finding was that informants accepted many non-standard norms but reported that they did not want to use them themselves. Thus, informants are more accepting of others’ errors than their own.

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